Happy planet, happy children

Working towards a sustainable future for our planet is all about ensuring a future for our children and their children. Here are some of the products on sale at the Happy Planet Store in Manchester Art Gallery until April 18th. 

Natural and sustainable children’s brands

Parents look towards brands to make products that are more natural and non-toxic, which means that sustainable children’s brands are a perfect fit. Not only are the materials more eco-friendly, but the products are also less harmful to children. Two very good reasons to buy sustainable products when you are looking for children’s clothing or toys. 

Pip & Henry make children’s shoes from sustainable materials like pineapple fibre and recycled thermoplastic rubber. They are proud of the fact that 80% of the materials they use are sustainable (one of the highest in the children’s footwear industry). The fun themes of space, dinosaurs and magic make the shoes attractive for children. 

Eco-friendly toys & games

Plastic toys are produced in vast quantities each year and up to 90% of children’s toys contain some plastic (CBC). Added to that, as any parent knows, children very quickly lose interest in toys and then they need to be disposed of. 1 in 3 parents admitted to the British Heart Foundation that they had thrown away toys in working condition. There are also reports of toxic chemicals added to some plastics to make them malleable or colour them. The highest concentrations of these chemicals are found in plastic toys (Down to Earth). Plastic doesn’t degrade and microplastic waste is everywhere. These all make compelling reasons to stop buying plastic toys.

Playpress Toys produces plastic-free push out toys with a whole range of characters for every age group, from Savannah animals to the Space Station. Playpress also produces a series of eco-educational sets like the eco-house and community characters like RNLI or rescue teams. Licensed characters like The Gruffalo and Shaun the Sheep are best sellers. 

PLYable’s ROKable is a rocking horse / whale / snail made from birch plywood and finished by hand. PLYable toys include monkeys, elephants, cars, vans and castles. They also make children’s furniture like toy storage and trolleys. The clever designs make these products enjoyable for both children and adults. 

U-Nu Early Years are construction kits with 35 – 840 pieces in them. The construction kit pieces are made of specially engineered coloured wood that is non-toxic. Triangle, circle, square, rectangular and other irregular shapes can be built up into virtually anything you can imagine. The kits also teach children about shapes and provide hours of fun (for parents too). 

Lightning Maths cards teach children maths with fun games. Lampogo is a fun, fast paced puzzle, designed by primary school teacher Roy Clutterbuck. It teaches number fluency and problem solving. Lightning Maths is a social enterprise focussed on maths education. 

Children’s books about sustainability

The Shrew with the Flu is a fun book by children’s author Will Hamilton-Davies. The story is about a greedy shrew who learns about environmental impact after eating his way through a forest of food. Can he save his beloved forest? Beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Davison. 

Pip & Henry (the makers of the shoes) have also published two children’s books about sustainability. The first is an exploration of what happens when shoes are discarded and the second is an adventure story, where Pip & Henry look for a bug that’s making people sick. Along the way, the pair discover that not all bugs & creatures are bad. 

All the products in today’s blog are featured in the Happy Planet store at Manchester Art Gallery until 18 April. Products are also available to purchase online from the museum shop. 

Find more children’s products in our sustainable directory

Annette Clubley

Annette is a keen wildlife conservationist, mindful of sustainability and our impact on the environment. Outside of work, family is her focus and she loves teaching the next generation to enjoy the outdoors.